How to Make Up Your Mind

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming)
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This paper develops an account of committed beliefs: beliefs we commit to through reflection and conscious reasoning. To help make sense of committed beliefs, I present a new view of conscious reasoning, one of putting yourself in a position to become phenomenally consciously aware of evidence. By doing this for different pieces of evidence, you begin to make your up mind, making conscious reasoning, as such, a voluntary activity with an involuntary conclusion. The paper then explains how we use conscious reasoning in reflection not just to form and change committed beliefs, but to become aware of existing ones. The paper concludes with an explanation of how the limitations of conscious reasoning require us to maintain committed beliefs in a system. It is our maintenance of this system that allows us to knit together individual episodes of conscious reasoning into one enduring performance as a committed systematic believer.

Author's Profile

Joost Ziff
University of California, Irvine


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